a portland house : fixer upper edition, part 1

a bit back, i posted about turning all my wallpaper fantasies into all my wallpaper realities. the thing about fantasies is, well, they’re just that. they don’t come with a price tag or a budgeting plan or a baby daddy who lives in the real world and has the shitty job of (gently, kindly) shooting down all my whimsical dreams. it’s okay, i still love him. because of his stereotypical jew-like accounting radar (something my jew ass simply doesn’t have), we’re debt-free and can afford to buy all the organic fruit i can stomach. so there’s that. but back to wallpaper business and a house update!

after much deliberation and late night internet worm-holing, i managed to narrow down my billion wallpaper choices to just a few. okay, several. whatever. decisions are not my strong suit. especially when many are needed to be made in a short amount of time and oh yeah, no big deal or anything, but these decisions would be stared at by us, family, friends, strangers, neighbors and pizza delivery kids for the next 10-20 years. ugh. pressure. fun pressure, sure, but pressure. so i sent off for many wallpaper samples, at $1 a piece from wallpaperdirect.com – a site i came across that i’ve been really pleased with, not just for their massive worldwide paper selection but also for their awesome customer service. a rarity these days, it seems. rating customer service is also my own personal indicator that and i’m getting old and cranky. fun. anyway, here’s what came in the mail:Screen shot 2015-06-20 at 2.16.56 PMi’m really glad i decided to throw down a wad of dollar bills to get physical samples. i could 1) see the actual colors up close 2) see the pattern and how large or small it was and 3) walk around the house’s big, empty rooms, holding up the samples on the big, empty walls and visualize the best i could what that room would feel like when covered in wallpaper. on the wall paper direct website, they also have a nice room gallery that can help you see what whole walls plastered in any of their papers will look like.

the husband and i hemmed and hawed and hemmed some more and then started narrowing down room and number of wall choices. wallpapering is not cheap. the paper itself is not cheap (on average, all the samples i loved were over $100 per roll – it will take us two rolls to do a smallish standard sized wall in the bathroom. and the installation is not cheap. unless you a talented mo fo and can do it yourself. i thought about this, i really did. and then i talked to some folks who were like, umm, if you’ve never done it before, this probably isn’t a great first timer situation. no offense. and i was like, none taken. the last thing i want is mismatched seams, mismatched patterns or bubbly walls. but i did figure out a nice compromise, both for my own need to learn new skills and to help soften the installation price which is to help the woman who is doing the installing. she is terrific and talented and told me that she would love to help show me how to properly lay wallpaper if i helped out with the process. done and done.

all that being said, picking out choice walls that i reaaaally wanted to wallpaper was tough but here’s where that left us:

the kitchen nook. a tiny space that makes me so happy. wanted something that would complement the potential beverly hills palm paper that will likely go on the back den wall so i’m leaning towards this fun toucan paper. only drawback, lots of pretty white space which i imagine in a few short years (weeks), will be spotted (smeared) with an array of colorful food stains:

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the other top contenders for this space are these two cow print versions from marimekko. the samples are teentsy so i included larger pictures found online, so you can really see the cow action:

large marimekko cows 2

large marimekko cows 1

ahhh! they’re both so on fleek (that works for things other than eye brows, right?)! can’t you just see yourself, saturday morning light coming in through the windows, kiddos scampering around still in their pjs, first round of french toast sticks in the heavily buttered pan  – you’ve just poured yourself a lovely mason jar of french press (stumptown, barista, coava, water ave., take your local pick, they’re all outstanding and deliciously nerdy) and then you curl into a kitchen nook surrounded by these big-eyed, gentle giants. you can’t see it? well damn, i can.

the den. baby daddy pulled white, arabesque tile to surround the fancy wood-burning stove that we inherited when we bought the house. we would have neeeeever purchased something this extravagant on our own, it wouldn’t have even crossed our wishiest of wish lists but the previous owners spent good money on one and had it installed, chimney and all. everyone who has come through the house has drooled over it and told us we will luh-huve having one in the winter so we are going to be burning some wood and making some fires y’all! bring a mug for hot chocolate and come on over.

og fireplace 1

as stated above, still obsessed with this iconic beverly hills hotel palm paper to cover the back wall of the den. i think the white arabesque tile will look good with the palms. like cookie dough and ice cream. sandals with socks. rice with soy sauce. you get the drift.

palm leaf 1

the upstairs bathroom. this room was gutted so were we happily forced to design (within budget, always within budget) from scratch. we decided to go full force with white subway tile, a nod to our love of nyc. did the tub walls, the floor (no one told us that tiling a floor in wall tile wasn’t the smartest thing to do. oh well.) and every other wall except one, which will be gloriously plastered in this:

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it’s from cole & son, called palm jungle. they carry it in about four different colorways. and here’s current before and afters of where we’re at with the bathroom. due to a just glorious skylight, the room is actually flooded with light but i think because of the size of the room (it’s small) and my mediocre camera skills, these came out lighted terribly.

og bathroom 1

og bathroom 2

and after the white-on-white subway tile and tub went in:

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we also had to tile the kitchen sink backsplash so we laid white subway tile there too. because really, you can never have too much subway tile. the before:

og kitchen 1

the after:

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that’s probably all for the wallpaper. i’m super stoked though – it’s a good start and even though i think plainly painted walls are bo-ring, i had to pick some colors for all the other rooms (that is correct, we are painting the entire interior of the house. that’s how much of a hot mess it is) so i spent an achingly long time at sherwin-williams and came up with these swatches:

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i saw this image online and was like, fuck yes, so we’ll see if that comes of anything but for now we’re going with a bright, light cream for much of the main floor, stairway and upstairs.

diagonal wall stripes

attic playroom – black chalkboard paint on bottom and light sky blue for angled walls. here’s our before, i’ll add in an after later:

og attic

chalkboard paint, b-t-dubs, is o-mazing and it now comes in a bunch more colors besides black! you can go old school (literally) chalkboard green and relive third grade! i’ve never painted with it before but i’m so excited! seb is going to have to fight me for doodle room. just remember to cure whatever you’re chalkboard painting before you start drawing. and also! people! there is an outstanding local paint company that slangs chalkboard paint in so many colors! all their paints, chalkboard or otherwise are totally non-toxic / voc free / can be inhaled by small humans and pets without fear! they’re called colorhouse paint! we are definitely buying our chalkboard paint from them. woop!

chalkboard paint

sebe’s room – one cherry red wall and same sky blue on rest of walls as in playroom. his room before:

Sebe's room 1

the after, with the red wall…it occurred to me last night however, as i was putting little muffin to bed, that this is the current crib set-up and i still totally love these dark pieces by our favorite portland graffiti artist rasco:

current wallpaper 2

there’s also no red in those pieces so maybe i should nix the red and pick a color (purple? orange?) from the rasco art if we’re going to transplant the pieces to the new bedroom…

not feeling 100 about this room because initially i drooled over these wallpapers which got axed off the budget so i half heartedly picked primary colors. inspiration will hit at some point. it’s a kiddo room! it has to be rad!

Burgerdoodles-wallpaper5

 

kiddo wallpaper

sewing room (did i mention?!?! i wil have a designated sewing and patterning room!!!! oh a girl can dream and those dreams can come true!!! i have massive plans for this space. private classes, group workshops, whatever anyone wants to pay me to do, we can do it in this room. stop. that sounded dirty. sewing-wise. you know what i mean.) – verdict still out but leaning towards a bubblegum pink? eh. i don’t know. i plan to hold mad classes in this space so i want it to read clean, fun, encouraging, inspirational. the kind of space where anything is possible. i love my friend and very accomplished portland pattern maker and designer john blasioli’s gorgeous studio shots that he posts on his instagram. his space is well loved, simple, open and functional. something to aspire to for sure. this first shot was taken by the unfuckwitable mikola accuardi, photographer and portland supply co. blog owner.

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plus he does achingly fun things like this and isn’t afraid of making a giant mess while doing so:

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exterior of the house needed to be painted like whoah so after not so much deliberation, we said black. black is it. i was fully aware that black usually (most of the time. all of the time.) looks best on multi-million dollar mid-century modern houses but hey, our 1922 bungalow is so totally close to that. right? ha. no, no it is not. surprisingly, sherwin-williams has three exterior blacks to choose from so we did three swatches and chose the one that had the most matte appearance; cavier black. the first time i had time to go check out the progress on the house, much of the first coat had been put on the big side wall. i freaked out. i woke up in the middle of the night continuing to freak out. i thought maybe we had made a huge mistake. turns out, a 1922 bungalow is nothing like a multi-million dollar modern house. one of the painters said, “it’s cool. it’s like the adams family lives here.” i wanted to cry. i said maybe we should stop and change it. to like, a brilliant blue or something. baby daddy got out his calculator, pushed up his glasses and gently reminded me that all the paint had been purchased, the work was started and that we weren’t making a huge mistake. that it would look amazing and that with the other pops of color we were planning; huge front window garden box filled with bright green ferny plants and a front door and fence in light-colored wood – that it would be fantastic. i knew he was right. i still loved black over any other color for our house. everyone asked what contrasting trim we would be doing. umm, none, juuust black. the whole, entire, thing black. we like making statements, what can i say.

before:

og side house

 

after:

black house

the backyard is the other gigantic improvement, which i would have been able to post an after for except that i just went through my phone’s gallery and those photos are mia, which means my very savvy not quite two year-old deleted during one of his recent playing-with-momma’s-phone sessions. even on airplane mode that kid manages to make his mark. i’ll update the after soon. just know there is grass. lush, green, roll your face in it grass.

og backyard

complete with a janky (chicken? dog? we weren’t entirely sure. but it was falling apart and literally covered in shit) coop at the far end near the garage:

og back yard chicken coop

so, let’s see – front windows still need to be installed, whole house will be painted with a second coat soon, i plan on making window seat cushions and fashioning the kitchen of my dreams…but that might be it for now! holy shit. a house. it feels really, really unreal.

if you’re remodeling a space and/or have any helpful tips, suggestions or grumblings of lessons learned the hard way, please holler! especially all you kitchen and craft people!

xoxo!

wallpapering all my dreams come true.

so, we have this house. still shell-shocked that we managed to pull off buying something in a city where i swear i can hear the up-ticking of the real estate market every passing minute. it’s incredible and we’re probably in over our heads but hey, grabbing and life and balls. plus it’s a mere 10 blocks from my parents so when Sebe is super bugging me stir-crazy, i can just put him on his mini radio flyer and say, “go trike your ass up the street to grandpa’s. just remember to look both ways when you get to the busy street”.

it’s a super duper fixer upper. many, many things need to be done to make it habitable. if it was just baby daddy and i, we could hang – throw some blankets on the floor and the french press, some dry cereal and candles on the counter and work from there. but with the toddler in tow, we should probably finish some stuff. like the second bathroom that was listed in the house description but in reality, looks like this:

bathroom 1

not too bad, right? ha. so of course instead of spending time making important decisions like finding a bathtub, i trolled online for way too many hours drooling over wallpaper. because that’s another thing we are happily forced to wont to do because thismaster bedroom

and this Sebe's room 1 are what we’re working with. the top photo is the master bedroom, or you know, the room where the magic happens. when i’m not too tired. when he’s not too tired. when the baby’s asleep. when we’re able to see each other like the loving fuck buddies we are and not just worn out parents with applesauce stains on our shirts. i digress. the second photo is Sebe/future children’s room. i’m thinking bunk beds if they’re close enough in age. i’m also thinking obsessing about wallpaper. so. much. wallpaper. baby daddy kept bugging me about picking paint colors but every time i envisioned painting, i just wasn’t feeling it. we’ve been living in a castle of an apartment whose last tenant was a sweet little old lady who kept the place decorated as it (originally?) was many moons ago. floral wallpaper and all. seriously.

current wallpaper 1

current wallpaper 2

current wallpaper 3

current wallpaper 4here’s our current bathroom, Seb’s room and kitchen. and while the yellowing floral isn’t my dream scene, i have loved living with wallpaper, so much. now that we have the mind boggling opportunity to break the whole damn piggy bank go a little ham, here’s what i’ve discovered in the world of wallpaper, circa now:

1st choice, always local. there are three folks doing wallpaper right, right here in the city of roses.

the make house

(hunky) make house owner Nathan Reimer has had dinner with Martha Cooper. that should sum up his street cred / bad assery.

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makehouse wallpaper

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aside from that, he runs a super fun creative studio in town where he allows himself to be hit up by strangers asking him how he’d feel about screen printing a gigantic blown up scene of b/boys in new york city in the 80’s on their living room wall. he will be so about it.

juju papers

this cutie couple hand draw their designs and then punch them into the ole’ computer.  small batch runs, water-based dyes and their finish their papers with a natural clay coating for smudge wipeability and to inhibit mildew growth. because mildew, like, gross.

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makelike

another cutie couple who are obsessed with each other (assuming) and making wall coverings. hand screen printed, water-based inks on recyclable paper. boom. portlandia. gotta love it.

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so, clearly, these are all rad choices and any of them would look o-mazing in anyone’s abode, on any viewable surface. however, my baby daddy and i are freaks and as much as i wanted to patronize a local company, i was really looking for something just a tad more 1980’s south bronx x south beach florida in the Bird Cage. nahmean? no? well, shit like this:little greene

cole & son 1

palm leaf 1

so that i can have ridiculous and fabulous dinner parties, like all the time and take photos of my fly girlfriends in the hallway that just happens to look like this, thanks to my tropical life wallpaper.palm leaf 2because let’s face it. i really just want the entire innards of our house to look and feel like i’ve just met up with Nathan Lane in Miami on a sunny Sunday afternoon and we’re going to have sweet teas and pink macaroons in the parlor.tropical life 1tropical life 2

 

okay guys, i spent hella hours digging the depths of computer land for this stuff but here it is, handed to you on a palm leaf platter. you’re welcome. Little Greene is the most delish, out of the UK. Cole & Son also has o-mazing tropi choices. but holy hell of all jackpots, here is where I found the quintessential wallpaper of my fantasies. giving me every ounce of 1980’s miami vice i could ever ask for. now can we please paste this stuff UP and go make fried appetizers to snack on while we finish our shibori teepees?! (this is in the works. promise. i will talk all about it.)

so there’s wallpaper dreams part one. because this post got just disgustingly long and i need to decompress before i let the Marimekko prints out the bag…

love you mean it!!!